It seems an auspicious day to introduce my first collection of haiku to the world.
breath is the realisation of a project that has been rolling on and off my desk for about 2 years and I am pleased to record that it was home from the printer in November 2011. There’s something about the death of loved friends that tends to focus the mind and I realised that I just needed to get on and do it and not look back later and be regretful.
Fortunately, this realisation coincided with what I felt to be a maturing and growth in my writing. I chose the poems for inclusion several times and believe that in the final selection each haiku carries its own weight.
The book contains poems largely dating from the past 5 years, although one or two are older than that. Among the haiku are several that have won awards in, for instance, the United States, Japan, Romania, Australia and New Zealand. There is also a good selection of poems that have been previously unpublished.
summer rain –
finding chocolate frogs
at the back of the shop
first published Daily Haiku, Cycle 11, 2011
breath has been arranged in the traditional way – by grouping poems under seasonal headings – with my own photographs of the seasons of the tree acting as separator illustrations.
From the start I wanted a book that would be a pleasant experience for the reader and Jane Smart at Kale Print in Tauranga and I carefully chose paper weight and type and cover material. I don’t like too many haiku crammed on a page and/or in a small and “thin” font – so in this one there are two poems per A5 page, although a few have only one.
The vision I had for the cover (which popped into my head while driving home from the gym) has been enhanced and improved by Kale’s graphic designer Michelle Reynolds. The book is perfect bound.
breath is self-published by necessity – if you think it’s hard finding a publisher for a book of poetry, try hawking round a book of haiku! I chose the name Piwakawaka Press to celebrate the fantails (Rhipidura fuliginosa) that flit and hover outside my office window at home. The Maori name, piwakawaka, is derived from their squeaky call and the birds are believed to be messengers from the gods.
Choosing the photos for the book gave me a great deal of pleasure and when I realised that three of the four separators were showing trees, it took only a moment to realise that my subconscious was telling me something. All the photographs were taken in my home district, three of them in private gardens.
The separator for spring shows the blossom of the ornamental peach, Iceberg.
Summer shows a blowfly on Acer mikawaya tsabusa, a small maple that features overlapping leaves, something like the tiles on a roof.
A Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) features in autumn, the photo taken at a large, country park near Tauranga.
Winter in this part of the world doesn’t feature snow and ice, but is nonetheless relatively bleak, cold and wet.